$1,000 phones a bit too rich for you? $200 Honor 7X does ‘budget phones’ proud

Five for the price of X

Good news: Apple has started selling an unlocked version of the iPhone X, so if you’ve got a thousand bucks laying around with nothing to do, better grab one quick. What? You don’t have a grand in spare cash in your dresser drawer? You know what? Neither do we. But, you might be able to scrape together $200 out of the couch cushions, and in that case, we do have a solid phone to recommend.

It’s called the Honor 7X, and it’s a pretty good example of just how “good” a “budget” smart phone can be these days. It has a crisp 18 by 9 display with better-than-HD resolution on its almost six-inch screen, dual cameras for that cool “background blur” look in photos, a very nice metal and glass design, and enough horsepower under the hood to be a solid portable gamer. DT phone critic Andy Boxall gives it high marks, check out his review.

Can you hear me (printing) now?

Used to be that if you had a hearing problem, you got hearing aides – which are better, smaller and more versatile that ever. But what if we could actually fix the mechanisms in our ears that would allow people to hear normally without a hearing aid?

At Baltimore’s University of Maryland School of Medicine, they’re looking at doing just that, with a cool tech twist: they’re using 3D printers to re-create crucial parts of the human hearing system, which, fortunately, are somewhat mechanical in nature. It’s not called an “ear drum” for nothing, you know.

Dr. Jeffery Hirsch told Digital Trends that they are designing tiny custom-fitted prosthetics that could be “snap-in” replacements for the many tiny bones in the ear that can be damaged by injury, disease or other traumas. They scanned the middle ears of some cadavers and then had other doctors print out the replacement parts. And usually, they were a near-perfect fit. We’re talking about printing things in the sub-millimeter scale, so this is pretty amazing stuff.

One size fits all

If you’ve been out cruising the street on your penny farthing, you may have notice that electric bicycles are quickly becoming a thing. And good news: a new retrofit ebike kit called the Swytch is an easy way to juice up your favorite ride, no matter what it is.

Currently on Indiegogo for $299 for the basic kit, the Swytch system consists of a small hub motor and wheel, the requisite controllers, wiring, and a battery in a basket on your handlebars. As this video shows, you can fit this system to just about any two (or maybe three) wheeler, even that circus-ready penny-farthing. Swytch is selling kits and whole ebikes, so get all the details and get ready to get wherever you bike to just a bit faster.

Be sure to check out our super handy holiday tech gift guide, for that techie person on your list, or just for yourself, we promise not to tell…

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.